A Primer for Washington Employers on Complying with the Paid Family & Medical Leave Program

Employee Benefit Plan Review November/December 2019

Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper and Anastasia A. Regne, Associates in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, co-authored an article in Employee Benefit Plan Review, titled “A Primer for Washington Employers on Complying with the Paid Family & Medical Leave Program.”

Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):

Washington State has begun implementing its new Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) program. Therefore, Washington employers should be mindful of their obligations under the PFML program. To educate employers on their obligations, the Washington Employment Security Department (ESD), which will administer the PFML program, has created a useful website that summarizes the new program’s key components. The website includes an Employer Toolkit to help employers comply with the program.

Washington State has already taken some key steps in the implementation of the PFML program: On January 1, 2019, employers were required to begin collecting PFML premiums, and, as of May 6, 2019, employers could apply online for voluntary plan exemptions. Other key dates that employers should be aware of include the following:

  • July 1-August 31, 2019: Employers had to begin reporting and remitting premiums for Quarters 1 and 2.
  • December 31, 2019: Washington’s current Family Leave Act will sunset.
  • January 1, 2020: Employees are eligible to take leave.

In addition, and as a reminder, Washington divided the rulemaking process into six phases, and the first four phases are complete. Employers still have the opportunity to participate in Phases Five and Six through the online public comment forum and public hearings that will be held throughout the remainder of 2019.